In a harbinger of the future, Ericsson plans to build a factory in the United States, but it will be fully automated employing only 100 people. The factory, which will be operational in early 2020, will take advantage of the Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment and will also advance Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability, including registration to pursue LEED Gold Certification.
The smart factory, which will cost of $100 million, will produce Advanced Antenna System radios to boost network capacity and coverage, including rural coverage, as well as 5G radios for urban areas, both necessary for rapid 5G deployments in North America. The location will be announced upon concluding discussions with state and local authorities.
Complementing Ericsson’s global supply chain, the factory will help the company is work close to customers, securing fast and agile deliveries to meet customer requirements, which builds on Ericsson’s previously announced strategic initiative is the U.S. market. Ericsson is also fast-tracking the launch of the next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing own factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks at Ericsson, said: “We continue to focus on working closely with our customers and supporting them in the buildout of 5G globally and in North America. With today’s announcement, we conclude months of preparations and can move into execution also in the U.S. In addition, we are digitalizing our entire global production landscape, including establishing this factory in the U.S. With 5G connectivity we’re accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future.”
The Smart Factory
Fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable agile operations and flexible production in the factory, which will be achieved through automated warehouses, connected logistics and automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts. The latest technology products created in the 5G factory will enable a faster rollout of commercial 5G across the region. To ensure the high quality of products, Ericsson runs its new product introduction and early production in-house. Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G is built.
Ericsson plans to initially employ approximately 100 people at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a modular and flexible production setup to enable quick ramp up and rollout.
Ericsson began operations via a production partner for the first radios for the U.S. market produced at the end of 2018. The company also established a new R&D site – a software development center – in Austin, Texas. It is located close to the Austin ASIC Design Center, which opened in late 2017 and focuses on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations.